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There were so many things she could say, but didn't. 

Instead, she sat on the edge of her bed, staring down at her hands. Hands that had played the piano for a dying mother, hands that were scarred from the bite of schoolroom rulers, hands that did nothing as Asp cut each piano wire. 

Hands that now trembled as they held a porcelain dinner plate. She’d given her dinner to Rat hours ago. 

Strangeness bred by song. Bewitched by music . Black and white keys stained by sin. 

The woman’s shrill voice echoed in her ears as she dragged her mirror image away, up the stairs. The secret everyone knew and no one would say, strawberry blonde innocence that longed for the outside world. 

Three weeks in solitary. Three days in death. 

No cigarette covered the lingering smell. It choked her at night as she laid awake, staring at the cracked and molded plaster. 

They were talking, but she wasn’t listening. She could hear nothing over the symphony of grief played by her heart, conducted by longing and accompanied by every thought of all that never was and could never be.

She heard her name and looked up, watching as Sheila lifted her lighter to the cigarette dangling off the edge of her lip. The flame was stolen whispers in the dark, screams down a drainpipe, a smoldering plaid skirt.

A box had been placed on the silenced piano. Judith was digging through it, laughing. A doll landed on the floor, and Sheila sprang off her bed, face twisted in rage. 

The plate broke between trembling hands. Everyone screamed.